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Robotics Academy Fall Online Training Schedule

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OnlineTraining.235000

We are excited to share our Fall online training schedule with you! Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation. Register for a class today!!
 

Online Training Schedule

EV3

EV3


 
Complimentary ROBOTC for EV3 Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
7-7:45pm EST (4-4:45pm PST)

 

 

 

 

 

TETRIX

TETRIX


 
ROBOTC Online Training for LEGO / TETRIX
Oct 16th – Nov 20th, 2014
Thursdays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

 

 

 

 

 

VEX CORTEX

VEX CORTEX


 
ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
Oct 13th – Nov 17th, 2014
Mondays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

 

 

 

 
 

VEX IQ

VEX IQ


 
Complimentary ROBOTC for VEX IQ Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
6-6:45pm EST (3-3:45pm PST)
 
 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

September 9th, 2014 at 7:30 am

FTC Cascade Effect Virtual World Available!

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Hot on the heels of the official game unveiling, the ROBOTC and Robot Virtual World team is proud to announce the availability of the new FTC Cascade Effect virtual world! Check out the rules for the new game here.

ftc game
Like past FTC Robot Virtual Worlds, the game elements, scoring, autonomous period, and tele-operated period are all simulated. We also provide three different robot models that can interact with this year’s game objects.

Conveyorbot
Conveyorbot is capable of picking up 4 balls at a time, and dropping them into the movable tube goals. The 4 balls can be any combination of the small golf balls or larger wiffle balls.

conveyorbot

Scissorbot
Scissorbot can pick up any of this year’s game objects: the larger wiffle balls, smaller golf balls, and the movable tube goals. It’s gripper can extend high into the air, allowing it to also drop the balls into any of the goals!

scissorbot

Gripperbot
Gripperbot can also pick up all of this year’s game objects: the larger wiffle balls, smaller golf balls, and the movable tube goals. Its streamlined design and low center of gravity allow it to quickly score balls and move tubes across the playing field.

gripperbot

All robots this year have been upgraded with “ball guards” around their chassis and wheels, which will help them to traverse the field once it has been covered in balls. They can also be equipped with either a Gyro sensor for precise turns, even if the robot slips, or an IR Receiver for tracking the center goal! Click here to download some sample code we’ve written to help you get started with all of the robots.

sensors ir

Download and try out the game today. If you are using ROBOTC 4, make sure that your Platform Type is set to LEGO Mindstorms NXT, and that you have “External Motor/Servo Controllers” enabled.

We appreciate any feedback you have! Please feel free to share it at the ROBOTC.net forums. Also, be on the lookout for future updates on our blog. We will be releasing a game video, along with an update that includes additional features along with robot-to-game object interaction tweaks.

Latest ROBOTC Update is our Official Release!!

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ROBOTC 4-26

We’re very excited for our official release update, ROBOTC 4.26!! This update is for the both the VEX Robotics (CORTEX and IQ) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems.

Some of these new updates include …

  • Full EV3 Functionality (Sounds, LCD, LEDs, Sensors, Motors)
  • Graphical Language for all platforms (VEX IQ, VEX Cortex – LEGO NXT, LEGO EV3)
  • Updated 3rd Party Driver Library for NXT and EV3
  • Updated Text Based Natural Language for NXT
  • Tons and Tons of Bug Fixes and Enhancements!

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.23.09

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.37.14

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.25.23_____________________________________________________________________________

ROBOTC 4.25 -> 4.26 Change Log

  • Major Bug Fixes
    • Fixed Encoder Count Issue with VEX IQ Virtual Worlds – Encoders were not properly adjusting to the 360 count scale and may have caused issues when trying to use multiple “setMotorTarget/moveMotorTarget” commands.
    • Fixed Virtual Worlds for VEX Cortex platform – crashes when trying to download to Virtual Worlds with VEX Cortex platform are now resolved.
  • VEX IQ
    • Support for VEX IQ Brain Firmware Version 1.12
    • Increase timeout (4 seconds -> 10 seconds) for downloading over wireless for VEX IQ.
    • New VEX IQ Clawbot image for Standard Models
    • New Dialog Message for successful VEX IQ Firmware Downloading
  • VEX Cortex
    • Implemented fix for dual platform users who may experience compiler errors due to “External Motors/Servo Controllers” flag being enabled.
    • Check that a valid team number has been set for VEX Cortex Controller. The check is made during user program download when the download type has been set to “Competition”. Teams should set their VEX Team Number to assist with debugging at competition while using VEXNet 2.0 (white) radios.
  • LEGO EV3
    • Adjust EV3 Standard Model – Motor ports were reversed (left vs right)
    • Adjusted all EV3 Graphical Sample Program to reflect new “standard model”
    • Support for draw picture (BMP) file on LCD screen. Does not support general BMP files, but rather LEGO specific picture files.
    • Fixed an issue where the EV3 “Reset Gyro” command was not properly resetting the Gyro value.
    • “getBatteryCurrent” command has been fixed.
    • Improved usage of Casper’s “search for devices” so that USB connected EV3 that are disconnected during a ROBOTC session are better handled.
    • Crashes to ROBOTC after closing the IDE Editor after communicating with an EV3 have been resolved.
  • Virtual Worlds
    • Additional Logic to have “TETRIX” based Virtual Worlds appear if the “External Motor/Servo Controller” flag is toggled. Currently they do not appear under any condition.
    • Fixed bug hiding “Joystick Control – Basic” for Virtual Worlds users.
  • Graphical Interface
    • Prevent ‘text’ and ‘graphical’ menus from becoming undocked from the ROBOTC interface – doing so may cause the main ROBOTC interface to become unresponsive.
    • Fixed bug where empty parameter values were using the last provided string as opposed to overwriting with “Blank” values – applies for the “MultipleMotor” Graphical commands.
  • ROBOTC IDE / General
    • Text-Based Function Library will no longer show commands that have been deemed “deprecated”
    • Update “Errors” to “Compiler Errors” based on user’s feedback.
    • Change compiler “error” to “warning” for assignment of a pointer value to an int without use of a cast.
    • Compiler was incorrectly allocating temporary variables during evaluation of “&(NULL)” types of expressions. Fixed.
    • Updated Help documentation files.

Download ROBOTC 4.26 here! And ensure that your devices are up to date by following the instruction in our last post. 

As always, if you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact at support@robotc.net or visit our forums! Happy programming!!

Written by Cara Friez

September 2nd, 2014 at 10:07 am

Exciting New ROBOTC Update Available Today!

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ROBOTC4-25

We’re excited to release our latest update, ROBOTC 4.25!!  We are calling this our “Release Preview”, because we are still in development for the full version, which will be released by the end of the month. This release is stable and we encourage all our ROBOTC users to try it out. If you run into any major issues, let us know in the forums. This update is for the both the VEX Robotics (CORTEX and IQ) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems.

Some of these new updates include …

  • Full EV3 Functionality (Sounds, LCD, LEDs, Sensors, Motors)
  • Graphical Language for all platforms (VEX IQ, VEX Cortex – LEGO NXT, LEGO EV3)
  • Updated 3rd Party Driver Library for NXT and EV3
  • Updated Text Based Natural Language for NXT
  • Tons and Tons of Bug Fixes and Enhancements!

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.23.09

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.37.14

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.25.23

_____________________________________________________________________________

Before you can use ROBOTC 4.25, you will need to ensure that your devices are up to date. The instructions to update your hardware will be different depending on what hardware setup you may have…

LEGO NXT Users

  • Simply update to the latest ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

LEGO EV3 Users

  • Update your LEGO EV3′s Firmware/Kernel by connecting your EV3 and select “Download EV3 Linux Kernel” from inside of ROBOTC – This process will take about 5 minutes and will allow your EV3 to communicate with both ROBOTC and the EV3 Icon-Based programming language. After updating your EV3′S Linux Kernel, you’ll be able to install the ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX IQ Users

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.10. You will also need to update your VEX IQ Wireless Controller by attaching it to your VEX IQ Brain using the tether cable. You will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX Cortex Users (with Black VEXnet 1.0 Keys)

  • You will need to update your VEX Cortex and VEX Game Controllers with version 4.25 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

VEX Cortex Users (with White VEXnet 2.0 Keys)

  • The new VEXnet 2.0 keys have a specific “radio firmware” that you will need to upgrade to enable “Download and Debugging” support. You can find the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” utility here.
  • Link: http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/index.php/Software_Downloads
  • Download the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” and insert your VEXnet 2.0 key to any free USB port on your computer. Follow the instructions on the utility to update each key individually. All VEXnet 2.0 keys must be running the same version in order to function properly.
  • After updating your VEXnet 2.0 keys, you will need to update your VEX Cortex and VEX Game Controllers with version 4.25 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

_____________________________________________________________________________

And finally, the very LONG Change Log for 4.25:

  • Cortex: Added servo motor commands to Cortex for Virtual Worlds.
  • Cortex: Added potentiometer commands to Cortex for Virtual Worlds.
  • Cortex: Add Timers and Clear Timers to Graphical for Cortex.
  • IDE: Spurious “rbg” file extension may have been added when saving a text file created from converting a graphics file. Fixed.
  • EV3: Update the routine that checks for “valid syntax of NXT on-brick file” for EV3. EV3 has different rules for file names than NXT.
  • VEX IQ: Added sound commands to Natural Language for VEX IQ – modified the playNote command to use typedefs to make it easier for natural language users.
  • Compiler: When substituting symbol names that match except with different letter case do a better job of handling the case when multiple symbols might possibly fit.
  • EV3: Support for standard ROBOTC “playTone” file with EV3.
  • Updated IDE Version (4.25)
  • Updated Firmware Version (10.25)
  • IDE: New Help System Engine + Content Files (replaces CHM)
  • Debugger: Fixed issue where VEX IQ motor debugger window was displaying “raw” encoder counts instead of “scaled” encoder counts.
  • Virtual Worlds: Adjust “no echo” value for VEX IQ in Emulator/Virtual Worlds
  • IDE: Default directory has been adjusted to be “my documents” instead of the root ROBOTC directory for saving un-saved files.
  • Compiler: Format code “%f” was broken in implementation when a number of decimal specifier wasn’t provided. Fixed.
  • Natural Language: Updated Natural Language Libraries to include “debugging” to LCD commands.
  • GUI: Updated Desktop/Start Icons for Graphical
  • Debugger: Sensor window had some “artifacts” when the number of display rows was larger than the number of active sensors. Fixed so that artifacts are now blank lines.
  • Compiler: Fixed compiler bug. Conversion of ‘float’ constant expressions to ‘long’ constant value was incorrect. End result of bug was that most likely value assigned was zero.
  • EV3: Added resources to the firmware image with sounds and images in /home/root/lms2012/resources/
  • EV3: EV3 firmware from LEGO does not properly handle the use of ‘.’ in the middle of filenames. Replace the ‘.’ with ‘_’.
  • Compiler: Fixed issue with rand() – Compiler was incorrectly optimizing get/set property opcodes to a one-byte index value with constant parameters. Almost all properties only need one byte with exception of “propertyRandom” which was behaving incorrectly as a result of this bug.
  • Graphical: Support for “compiler error” display for graphical files including using “graphical block numbers” rather than “text line index” for error display.
  • Graphical: Tweaked graphical loop block colors.
  • VEX IQ: Allow the debugger to display information based on the global motor encoder units instead of raw counts for VEX IQ
  • Cortex: Updated VEX Cortex IME Support to reflect new motor type (393 with Turbo Gears). Also removed some inconsistencies in the software as well.
  • EV3: When USB connected EV3 is disconnected then ROBOTC would not reconnect to it when reconnected until ROBOTC application was existed and re-entered. The problem was ROBOTC was using a “old” list of “discovered devices”. Now discards list of devices and rescans — when connecting via USB only — and problem is resolved.
  • EV3: Support for EV3 text drawing to screen.
  • EV3: Breakpoints now working for EV3.
  • EV3: Add support for “EV3 Remote Screen” as part of the Debugger.
  • Compiler: Improved implementation of compiler parse for ‘typedef enum” and “typedef struct”. Implementation is now closer to standard “C” with better handling for “anonymous” typedefs. Does not break any sample programs.
  • IDE: “Open Include File” command in source file context menu was broken; fixed. “Go to symbol definition” context menu command now filters out macro parameters and procedure variables.
  • NXT: Fixed issue where “simple” game controller data wasn’t appearing in available debugger windows
  • Graphical: Graphic trash can implementation. You can drag selection to the trash can to delete blocks.
  • NXT/EV3: Fix spurious generation of “#pragma config” for PID settings that are all set to 0xFF values.
  • Graphical: Syntax checking on graphical files. Some errors are now flagged.
  • Graphical: Implement “Comment” block for Graphical views including edit capability.
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 IR Sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Bumper/Touch Sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Color sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Gyro sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Touch Sensor
  • Graphical: “>” and “<” comparison operators were swapping when saving a graphical file. Fixed.
  • IDE: When a new source file is opened (or a template file) do not initially set the “modified” flag in the file. Only set the modified flag after end user has modified the file.
  • IDE: Avoid double “Save File” prompt when compiling a file and on the first SAVE prompt you click cancel.
  • EV3 Kernel: Image of latest build – version 1.06X and all the I2C enhancements.
  • EV3: IDE “File Management” window for EV3 was often crashing; fixed a buffer read overflow situation which clears this up. Better text error message when there is not enough free flash memory to write a new file to the EV3.
  • IDE: Disable “error” message box when pulling USB cable from robot brain (and the debugger shuts down).
  • VEX IQ: Visual Error handling for Debugger Exceptions (Wrong Motor/Sensors/etc)
  • VEX IQ: Updated GUI Text: When a ROBOTC AUTO program had previously ran, and then a user was trying to access a TeleOp program, they would be greeted with a “No Radio Needed…” message box. Updated the text to reflect that if they’re seeing a message they probably need a remote control, because this string is never presented to the user for more than a split second in Auto mode.
  • IDE: Fixed issue with “Sensors” debugger window not being able to be edited.
  • VEX IQ: fixed Issue with VEX IQ Color Sensor – Hue values were being scaled improperly.
  • Graphical: Reduce flicker on graphical view when dragging blocks.
  • Graphical: Added registry options to adjust the appearance of graphical programs. Includes show/hide {}. Show/hide semi-colons. Optional “end” text on end block. Etc.
  • Robot Virtual Worlds / VEX IQ: Invert the proximity value provided by the vex color sensor to align with real hardware.
  • IDE: Add support to “Motors and Sensors Setup” to store drive side — left/right/none — for each motor. Graphical Movement Commands will now use this data to decide what motors to drive
  • Graphical: Adjust width of graphic programming blocks based on contents of edit controls and width of drop down menu items.
  • Graphical: Added EV3, VEX Cortex and NXT as “Graphical Language” platforms.
  • Bug: Large ICON toolbar was not getting built when IDE is opened unless it was “opening last file”. Changed data table to ensure that it is initially built.
  • IDE: Added ability for “Macro” commands to Compile/Download/Launch Graphical Files when special flags are stored inside of the .RGB files.
  • Graphical: VEX IQ Motors and Sensors now support dynamic menus based on Motors and Sensor Setup Data

_____________________________________________________________________________

Download ROBOTC 4.25 here!

As always, if you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact at support@robotc.net or visit our forums! Happy programming!!

Written by Cara Friez

August 15th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Cool Project: Room Explorer Bot with Mapping Functions

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ROBOTC user, Sigtrygg (forum name), recently shared a project on the ROBOTC forums that they have been working on called the NXT Room Explorer Bot with Mapping Functions. Check out the YouTube video of the robot in action …
 


Sigtrygg description and breakdown of the bot …
 

The robot is based upon a standard REM-Bot but in addition equipped with a HiTechnic gyro, HiTechnic compass sensor and an omni-wheel. First the robot moves about 360° to calibrate the compass using the gyro (thank you to Xander Soldaat for code!). Then the robot moves its sonar-head to the right, to the left and in front position to get the distances according to its position. After doing this it turns around to the wall with the minimum distance and drives in front of it until sonar sensor detected a minimum sensor distance, e.g. 20cm. Then the robot turns parallel to the wall, moves his sonar-head to the right detecting the distance to the wall and drives counter clockwise parallel to the wall balancing distance. A mapping-task records the compass and odometry data every second and calculate the polar coordinates to cartesian coordinates (x,y). The coordinates are written as “map.txt”-file. So you can use Excel or an other program to draw the path which the robot had moved. In addition to that you can follow the path at the NXT-LCD-screen. I had to choose a scale for it, so you have to suit the scale to your room size. If the robots touch sensor has detected an obstacle the robot moves back and turn left for 90 degrees and continuous his explorer-duty always running counter clockwise with wall to the right. How to expect the end of path doesn’t suit exactly to the beginning because of inaccuracies of compass and odometry measures.

CIMG3122

Construction of the robot. The upper sensor is the compass sensor.

CIMG3125

Construction of the robot. The upper sensor is the compass sensor.

Screenshot

Screenshot of Excel data-sheet

LCD Screenshot

LCD Screenshot

To read more about this project, check out the ROBOTC Forum post here!

Written by Cara Friez

July 18th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Announcing ROBOTC 4.10 now available!

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Summer 4.10The ROBOTC Development Team is excited to announce the availability of ROBOTC 4.10 – an update for the both the VEX Robotics (Cortex and IQ) and LEGO Mindstorms (NXT and EV3) robotics systems. This new version includes new features and functionality for all ROBOTC 4.X compatible platforms.

  • Full support for the VEX IQ platform in ‘Robot Virtual Worlds’ – Updated “Curriculum Companion” to support VEX IQ
  • Support for VEX IQ 2.4Ghz International Radios (Requires VEX IQ Firmware 1.10 or newer)
  • Initial Support for I2C devices with EV3 platform
  • Updated Graphical Natural Language with new colors and commands!
  • Support for nMotorEncoderTarget in Virtual Worlds (NXT & Cortex Platforms)
  • Support for motor synchronization in Robot Virtual Worlds (NXT Platform)
  • Initial update of ROBOTC documentation (VEX Cortex/IQ Platforms)
  • Support for Project Lead the Way (PLTW) 2014-2015 School Year Users

Before you can use ROBOTC 4.10, you will need to ensure that your devices are up to date. The instructions to update your hardware will be different depending on what hardware setup you may have…

LEGO NXT Users

  • Simply update to the latest ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

LEGO EV3 Users

  • Update your LEGO EV3′s Firmware/Kernel by connecting your EV3 and select “Download EV3 Linux Kernel” from inside of ROBOTC – This process will take about 5 minutes and will allow your EV3 to communicate with both ROBOTC and the EV3 Icon-Based programming language. After updating your EV3′S Linux Kernel, you’ll be able to install the ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX IQ Users

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.10. You will also need to update your VEX IQ Wireless Controller by attaching it to your VEX IQ Brain using the tether cable. You will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX Cortex Users (with Black VEXnet 1.0 Keys)

  • You will need to update your VEX Cortex and VEX Game Controllers with version 4.22 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

VEX Cortex Users (with White VEXnet 2.0 Keys)

  • The new VEXnet 2.0 keys have a specific “radio firmware” that you will need to upgrade to enable “Download and Debugging” support. You can find the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” utility here.
  • Link: http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/index.php/Software_Downloads
  • Download the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” and insert your VEXnet 2.0 key to any free USB port on your computer. Follow the instructions on the utility to update each key individually. All VEXnet 2.0 keys must be running the same version in order to function properly.
  • After updating your VEXnet 2.0 keys, you will need to update your VEX Cortex and VEX Game Controllers with version 4.22 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

Here’s the list of changes and enhancements between version 4.08/4.09 and 4.10.

New Features

  • Full support for the VEX IQ platform in ‘Robot Virtual Worlds’ – Updated “Curriculum Companion” to support VEX IQ
  • Support for VEX IQ 2.4Ghz International Radios (Requires VEX IQ Firmware 1.10 or newer)
  • Initial Support for I2C devices with EV3 platform
  • Updated Graphical Natural Language with new colors and commands!
  • Support for nMotorEncoderTarget in Virtual Worlds (NXT & Cortex Platforms)
  • Support for motor synchronization in Robot Virtual Worlds (NXT Platform)
  • Initial update of ROBOTC documentation (VEX Cortex/IQ Platforms)
  • Support for Project Lead the Way (PLTW) 2014-2015 School Year Users

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed issue when deleting graphical blocks and ROBOTC would crash.
  • Improved error messages/status messages for Tele-Op based downloads with VEX IQ
  • Improved Licensing system features to provide more debugging feedback for -9105 errors.
  • Fixed to revert issue causing bad message replies on the VEX Cortex system which prevent downloading user programs. (4.09 only)
  • Updated CHM files and fixed issues in ROBOTC opening the wrong CHM file.
  • Update colors properly with the new document architecture with graphical.
  • EV3 – Casper update to prevent crashing when using VMWare Virtual Machines.
  • VEX IQ Graphical – Add USB ‘Directional Pad/POV Hat’ values for use with armControl with Virtual Worlds for IQ
  • VEX IQ Graphical – Added the ability for Graphical XML Documents to contain “RBC Macro” parameters.
  • Licensing system update to fix “heartbleed” like issues that may be present during activation.
  • EV3/IQ – Eliminate duplicate identical definitions in robotcintrinsics.c for motor commands.
  • Add new EV3 commands for sending I2C messages
  • Fix a bug in compiler generation of ‘string’ concatenation (i.e. “+”) operator.
  • Bug in code generation. Incorrect generation of opcode bytes for “opcdAssignGlobalSShort”; old format using 1-byte global index instead of new format with 2-bytes.
  • Update timeouts for VEX Cortex with new Master Firmware 4.22 for use with VEXnet 2.0 Radios.
  • Renamed DrawCircle to drawCircle
  • Fix Compiler bug with “%” and “>>” opcodes. Most of the “>>=”, “<<=”, “%=”, “&”=, “|=”, and “~=” opcodes don’t care whether the left-hand operand is ‘signed’ or ‘unsigned’. That’s how they were treated in current compiler / VM. However, “>>” and “%” opcodes do care if “signed’ vs ‘unsigned’ where the operand size is either ‘char’ or ‘short’. This change fixes that situation. This problem has been undetected since the introduction of ‘unsigned char’ and ‘unsigned short’ types were introduced.
  • 4WD Support for Natural Language with VEX IQ.
  • VEX IQ Graphical – Changes to “moveMotor” command to allow it to move in reverse if user specifies a negative quantity or speed, not just speed
  • VEX IQ Grahpical – Adjust the Graphical arcadeContorl and tankControl commands to only show channels; adjust armControl to only show buttons; add default values to most commands
  • Virtual Worlds – regulated motor movements for RVW;
  • VEX IQ – Fixed VEX IQ bug where I2C traffic would be considered “timed out” on VM startup.

As always, if you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact at support@robotc.net or visit our forums!

Written by Cara Friez

May 28th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

ROBOTC Omniwheel Article in Design & Technology Practice Magazine

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twitterDT_logo Xander Soldaat, ROBOTC Project Contributor, was recently asked to write a robotics article for the British Design & Technology Practice magazine.  He wrote about the basics of programming a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT omniwheel based platform, and the mathematics behind it using ROBOTC as the programming language.  

You can read a copy of the article here: [LINK].

The D&T Association is the organization that represents the interests of  Design and Technology (STEM) teachers throughout the UK.

 
 

Robomatter Blog Ad LEGO

 

Written by Cara Friez

May 13th, 2014 at 10:26 am

New Robot Virtual Worlds Video!

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RVWRobot Virtual Worlds just released a new video all about the software!! Check it out here:

 

 

 

 

 

Already using RVW? What do you think? How do you use this software in your classroom? We’d love to hear your feedback!

Setting Up Robots – LEGO Edition

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SettingUpLEGONow that the physical robot kits are in the classroom and ROBOTC is installed and activated, you should be ready to build the physical robots for your classroom. One of the best features of a LEGO Mindstorms educational robotics kit is that they allow students to create a nearly limitless range of robots; the downside of this, however, is maintaining student-created robots in a classroom. To help with this, ROBOTC and their related Video Trainer Curriculum support several standard models to help keep a baseline in the classroom.

cutout_rem_gripper_T_300The first of such robots we will look at is the NXT REMbot (which stands for ‘Robotics Education Model), the standard NXT that is used in the ROBOTC Curriculum for TETRIX and LEGO MINDSTORMS. The REMbot utilizes three NXT motors (two for driving, one for the (optional) arm), a Light Sensor mounted below the robot, a Touch Sensor mounted in the front, a Sonar Sensor positioned above the robot, and a Sound Sensor on the side of the REMBot. This model allows for a variety of tasks to be completed and is designed to work with all of the challenges in the ROBOTC Curriculum.

mantis-cutout-300x275

If your classroom will be utilizing the TETRIX kit, the Mantis Robot standard model would be the build of choice. The Mantis Robot utilizes the TETRIX kit to add two TETRIX DC motors (for driving) and a TETRIX Servo (for the arm), as well as the respective motor and servo controllers; all of which are fully programmable in ROBOTC. Sensors can be added using any of the remaining sensor ports (one of which is used by the HiTechnic Motor/Servo controller chain).

Users of the MATRIX kits are not left in the dark however! MATRIX also has several options to use in the classroom, but the Quick Start Rover stands out from the pack. Combined with The Little Gripper, the MATRIX kits can be quickly and effectively set up for a standard robotics classroom. Like the TETRIX bots, the Quick Start Rover can be outfitted with NXT sensors on any of the remaining sensor ports for added versatility. It uses two MATRIX motors for movement and a MATRIX servo for The Little Gripper (all controlled through one MATRIX controller), all of which is fully programmable in ROBOTC.

Visit CMU’s Robotics Academy LEGO site for more information on the different kits available and to find build instructions.

 
 

Robomatter Blog Ad LEGO

 

Written by John Watson

September 10th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Which Robotics Kit Should I Use? LEGO Edition

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EV3-Cutout-01-copyNow more than ever, robotics educators are faced with the important question of which kit they should purchase and use. This key question has been made even more intricate in the 2013-2014 school year due to the addition of the new robotics kit, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. This article will help break down LEGO’s kits, their capabilities and target audiences, and allow you, the educator, to make an informed decision on which kit is best for your particular classroom.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is the all-new robotics kit from LEGO Education (creators of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT system). It is fully compatible with previous NXT hardware (except for the battery), including all plastic structural pieces and sensors.

  • Compatibility with the MATRIX and TETRIX metal systems is expected in fall 2014.
  • Those starting a classroom from scratch need not worry; the EV3 comes with a total of 541 elements, including a multitude of structural parts (beams, connectors, wheels, gears, etc), 4 different sensor types (color sensor, gyroscopic sensor,  ultrasonic sensor, and touch sensor), 3 motors, and the EV3 micocontroller or ‘brain’.
  • The EV3 microcontroller sports 4 sensor ports, 4 motor ports, a internal Bluetooth adapter, and a USB slot which can be used with a WiFi adapter for wireless connectivity (as well as microSDHC card slot which supports cards up to 32GB in size).
  • It utilizes a Linux-based firmware which allows for on-brick programming and datalogging.
  • The EV3 is already legal in First Lego League (ages 9-14), but we are still waiting on information on when it will be legal for First Tech Challenge (High School) competitions.
  • Recommended use: Middle School (EV3) or High School (with MATRIX or TETRIX kit).

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Now, let’s take a look at the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT V2.0. Released in 2009, the NXT platform utilizes a plastic snap-fit hardware structure system, with 431 elements included in the base kit.

  • These elements consist of both structural pieces (beams, connectors, and axles, to name a few), three interactive servo motors, the NXT microcontroller, and ultrasonic, light, sound, and two touch sensors included.
  • There are also many third-party sensors available from sites such as Hitechnic, Dexter Industries, and Mindsensors.
  • The NXT is also fully compatible with the MATRIX and TETRIX metal systems.
  • Wireless capabilities include built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity (provided by an external Samantha Module adapter).
  • The NXT is currently a legal microcontroller for both the First Lego League (FLL, ages 9-14) and First Tech Challenge (High School) challenges.
  • Recommended use: Middle School or High School (with MATRIX or TETRIX metal kit).

We understand that choosing a robotics kit is a tough decision. The number one factor in determining which kit is right for you will come down to the students; depending on the skill level of the students, it may be better to challenge them with a more advanced kit  (MATRIX or TETRIX kits) or they made need to start with a simpler kit (LEGO NXT or EV3 kits). No matter which kit you decide to use, though, you can rest easy knowing ROBOTC will fully support all of these platforms.

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Written by John Watson

August 27th, 2013 at 5:09 pm